One Thing

Let me set the scene for you. King David is personally under attack by people who have determined to do him harm. These evil men are bent on his total destruction. It’s almost as if an entire army of enemies have set themselves against him. Of course he’s afraid. Wouldn’t you be? When David gets alone with God, what does he ask God for?

It’s an important question for us to consider because we’re not much different than David in that we too face a host of enemies. Your enemy might be a person (Example: a co-worker who unfairly gossips about you), circumstances (Example: the stagnant economy has left you unemployed), or even your own sin nature that constantly wages war against you (1 Peter 2:11). Feeling as if you are constantly under attack, you might be mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. When you get alone with God, what do you ask God for?

David’s prayer request is found in Psalm 27:4. I’m very convicted by what he does NOT pray for. He doesn’t ask for deliverance from his enemies. At least that’s not his primary request. He doesn’t ask for vindication or justice or relief or a better life. In other words, David doesn’t pray for the things that I usually do. Instead he asks God for more of God.

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

The one thing that David wants (or at least wants to want) is to see the beauty of the Lord.

A couple of observations…

1. Sometimes troubles help us prioritize what’s really important in life. When my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it reminded me that good health was not of ultimate importance. When I worked for a week this summer in Harmons, Jamaica, I had to once again come to terms with Jesus words that “life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

2. What is my “one thing”? What is the “one thing” that I think that I need to make my life worth living? What is it that my heart longs for? What is it that I need in order to feel good about myself or to feel satisfied?

How would I fill in the blank in this sentence: “Life has meaning and I have worth only if I have______in my life.”

These are some of the issues raised by Paul Tripp in his devotional on Psalm 27. He goes on to give a list of some of the “one things” that we commonly look to. I’ve read through lists like this before but, even so, it was good for me to once again consider what I’ve made the “one thing” in my life.

Power: Life has meaning or I have worth only if I have power and influence over others.
Approval: If I am loved and respected by _________.
Comfort: If I have a certain kind of pleasure or experience.
Image: If I have a certain look or body image.
Control: If I am able to have mastery over a particular area of my life.
Dependence: If there is someone out there to keep me safe.
Independence: If I am completely free of the obligation or responsibility to take care of someone.
Inclusion: If a particular social or professional group lets me into their inner ring.
Achievement: If I am recognized for my accomplishments.
Prosperity: If I have a certain level of wealth, finance, nice possessions.
Work: If I am highly productive and get a lot done.
Religion: If I am adhering to my religion’s codes.
Irreligion: If I am totally independent of organized religion and have a self-made morality.
Race or culture: If my race and culture are ascendant and recognized as superior.
A person: If this one person is happy to be in my life and is happy with me.
Family: If my children/parents are happy with me or bring me honor and recognition.
Helping: If people are dependent on me and need me.
Suffering: If I am hurting or having a problem, only then do I feel noble, worthy of love, or free from guilt.

All these other “one things” make big promises but fail to deliver on any of them. Your heart and soul were made for the One Person–Jesus Christ. When he is your “one thing,” your heart has found what it was made for.

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